Word Muse: A Fresh Air Feeling of Home

by Tina Reeble, Education Specialist, Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and Nature Explore

This week’s Word Muse was inspired by Pioneers Park Nature Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. They said, “Children experience fresh air in our Certified Nature Explore Classroom.”

You know that saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?”  I have adapted that in my ponderings this week to, “Fresh Air is in the nose of the sniffer.”  It seems that something as simple as “fresh air” conjures up different aromas for different folks.  In a previous blog post I wrote about my son Zachary and our annual visit to see the Sand Hill cranes, his enjoyment of that overall experience hinges on the anticipated smells in the air as we pass various livestock farms while in route.  He seems to be somewhat of a connoisseur of manure smells.  This year as we drove past farm land speckled with brown and black cows he exclaimed, “Ahhh – finally the fresh air!” as the rest of us held our breath.  That kid sure gives the “fresh” in fresh air a different meaning!

I had another opportunity to consider fresh air during a recent stop at the shoreline of Lake Eerie.  My tour guides for the evening shared that they both grew up near the water and the distinct odor  in the air brought peace to each of them even though it seemed overpowering to me. To both of them, the air that we were breathing that evening meant home.  We discussed how precious that awareness is to each of us; to be aware that the clean air that we so often take for granted is not only vital to our physical health but our emotional capacities as well.

My own fresh air at home moment took place on a walk to lunch with a couple of colleagues last week.  The tulip trees and lilac bushes are overflowing with blossoms right now and the warmth from the sun has coaxed them to perfume the air with a heady fragrance that drifts along with the breeze.  I found myself breathing deep as if to soak in that amazing aroma right down into my spirit, for I know how briefly this moment will last.  Within another week, most of the blossoms will have dropped to the ground and this fleeting experience will be but a memory that will have to last me for a whole year, until I lift my nose into the air and breath the fresh air of spring when it arrives again in 2013.

Experiences like these are taking place in Nature Explore Classrooms across the country every day where children are active in creating their own at home fresh air moments. They are enveloped in fresh air; smelling the scent of flowers blooming, seeing their breath on a crisp winter day, or connecting their breath to their hands and to the earth as they harvest garden vegetables.These experiences become an integral part of who they are and what they intuitively know about the world.  Imagine how that foundation provides meaning for them in later years when they encounter the concept of photosynthesis as they learn how truly connected people and plants are to the fresh air from a scientific standpoint.

So what does your nose say to you about fresh air?

Our next word is Action. 

Be bold, choose to be extraordinary and I will see you next week.